work of Catholic relief agencies when he addressed the 400 delegates to the General Assembly of Caritas lnternationalis at an audience in the Vatican. The delegates, who represent Catholic relief and development agencies in 125 countries, were gathered in Rome for the week-long assembly which is held every four years.
Caritas Internationalis is the umbrella organisation for .he world's Catholic relief agencies. Its English members are Cafod (the Catholic Fund for Overseas Development) and the Social Welfare Commission of the Luiderence of England and Wales.
Speaking of the relief agencies' activities the Pope said: "They are the evernecessary expressions of a charity which does not wait to be asked and which attaches a value to every person, as the Good Samaritan did."
During the General Assembly a new President of Caritas was elected. He is Cardinal Alexander Do Nascimento, the Archbishop of Lubango, Angola, who was educated at Oxford. The new Secretary General is Mr Gerhard Meier, from Caritas, Switzerland.
The General Assembly published a final communique in which they "reaffirm their deep solidarity with the poorest, with all those who need to be loved and appreciated; a solidarity which has its roots in its fidelity to Christ and in its confidence in man."